Forgive me if there has been another topic on reviewing this book. Some forums that I go on say not to create topics that have already been made and others say not to revive dead threads. Some other outside forums hurt my innocent eyes with needless flaming and such >.< Bah! The internet will be the doom of us all!!
Anyway, here is why I am even writing a review for a book at all:
My Psychological knowledge before Michael Neill came mostly from that of Paul McKenna. Reading his books definitely gave me an insight as to why we think the way we do, why sometimes it's hard to get out of those loops when we don't know how, and what we could learn about our imagination. They were most certainly enjoyable, but I had studied them to death and something about them just wasn't 'hitting the spot'.
I didn't need to lose weight, stop smoking or feel more confident as the books were about. I wanted a reason to stop beating myself up, or, at least know why I was doing so. I always thought that knowing Psychology would make things easier and cooler, and I was lucky enough to have picked his books up first (and thank goodness I didn't pick up anything else at that point, who knows what would have happened to my suggestable self if I had picked up some pseudoscientific nonsense about self-esteem).
But a year ago I decided to go further. Because Michael was Paul's friend and success coach, I thought he may be interesting to look into, so I searched for YCHWYW which I knew was his first book. In the process of picking up YCHWYW, I picked up The Secret (book) and The NLP Coach (http://www.amazon.co.uk/NLP-Coach-Comprehensive-Well-being-Professional/dp/074992277X
Here's what happened: to this day I am still halfway through The Secret and have never read The NLP Coach (only glanced at random pages..). It's not that they were bad in any way - after all, I can't comment on them if I've never read them. The reason why I hardly touched those two books was because I never needed them. I never again needed anything else. Ever. That's how good YCHWYW was.
Now I shall explain why this book blew me away:
Right from the start, Michael tells you not to treat his book at the be all cure all. He goes to great lengths to make sure that you come across your own answers instead of always assuming that someone else's answers are correct for you - that only you know what's best for you. I would have been okay if I left the book at that point. Not one person I've ever come across from the world 'above me' has ever had the guts to say something like that to me. And that was just the bloody intro.
(I am pretty sure, from the skeptical attitude that I have now, that 99% of 'self-help motivators' out there are either making claims without evidence, somewhat egotistical, or both. And I can see the clear contrast between them and Michael and Paul who give sincere, honest and heartfelt messages from their research. My criticisms on the self-help industry are not attacks, but fair comments to make... especially when your messing with people's opinions of themselves... Michael and Paul however, are two exceptions simply because they make more of an effort to disprove themselves, and that they make no judgements towards anybody who couldn't get their advice to work for them.)
The first chapter's revelation of happiness made me smile, made my eyes light up, and made me say 'that's just madness' at a few points. Wasn't it obvious that I was denying myself the right to be happy if things didn't go my way? Well, it wasn't back then. But it was a massively enlightening point to make. I can't make my being happy dependant on the unpredictable outside world! I may as well go and gamble all my money on a game of roulette in a casino! But I didn't blame myself, or anyone else, for not questioning this irrational assumption that is just accepted. It was at this point that I said 'Right, this guy deserves a medal just for that chapter', and I laughed bewilderedly at the mere thought of what the rest of the book was going to be like.
The 'what I want' areas had plenty of sincerity. It more or less explained that if I wanted to do something, I never need to 'motivate myself'. It was just a question of finding out if I really wanted it or not. End of discussion, more or less. Motivation was no longer a dilemma. I know of course it is one of his 9 obstacle sections, but he reclarifies that if it's not inertia, it's just looking twice as to whether you want it or not.
The rest of the book expands on these ideas in a very heartfelt way. And what baffled me even MORE was that when I reread chapters again and again, it seemed to get even BETTER. On some occasions it felt like I was rereading the book as if I never had read it before, which was, quite frankly, scary. There are few books that can do that to the level Michael has set his at.
I'll list some of my favourite ideas from the book:
The question 'What would you want if you knew you didn't have to be unhappy about not getting it?' (Yeah.... the dreaded triple negative, LOL! But it's one of the best questions I've asked myself in a long time).
Interrputing trains of thought and self-observation.
'There is nothing wrong with you.'
The Comfy Chair Experiment.
The 'Cause Reaction Choice Response Effect' equation.
The Principle of Thought (i.e. it's not that you think bad things, but rather you engage with them as if they mean something about you - it's clearer in Chapter 5 of Supercoach as well. After all, to try and 'control your thoughts through positive thinking' is silly since directly controling your thoughts would defeat the point of thoughts being there in the first place!
(I may post again in this thread to expand on those ideas a bit more. This post is getting long and the time is quite late lol..)
To sum up, this book is more or less now my number one recommendation to people who want or need help in being comfortable in their lives, be it through doing well in the world or feeling happy or loved. Because, quite simply, it has true, evident insights. Michael Neill is one of the most genuine people I have ever had the honour of learning from, and I rarely say stuff like that.
Let me make one thing very clear however, if you are thinking about buying the book. It is INCREDIBLY TEMPTING to look up the book as a 'rule book' for answers to a problem (even when Michael says in big bold letters at the front not to do so). It may not be the case for you, but I made this mistake lots of times.
The reason why this is such a problem is because, especially considering the very true nature of the book, it eggs you on use the 'change in perceptions' as a cause-effect method of getting you out of a bad situation. And if you get stuck, you can also easily assume that you haven't done it right.
You may as a result of this be trying so hard to 'figure things out' and put together all the pieces of the puzzle in order to fix the situation. But what I've found with my own experience is that even if I finish the puzzle, I just dismantle it and try to put it back together when the same situation comes up again.
I've tried this following approach and it has seemed to make things easier. A great idea to experiment with in this pickle comes from this awareness: when we first encounter a tough problem, particularly involving emotion, we automatically assume we don't have the answer.
And as a result, we never know that any answer(s) we have ARE the right ones for us since we are assuming we don't know. It's just a natural reaction - we go inside our heads to compare everything, look at all the 'common sense' answers, look at all the Psychological explanations and do it all a MILLION times over when we haven't found anything, but it still feels deeply upsetting.
So when you catch yourself trying to 'figure everything out', ask yourself this first:Do I already have the answer to this problem?
99 times out of a hundred, you probably will. And for that one time you don't, you probably just need to ask a close friend and/or loved one for some help and/or care. When you ask this question and get the answer that's right for you, it removes the unnecessary struggle of figuring everything out and refiguring everything out, and also allows you to listen to your inner wisdom more and more. And if it doesn't turn out to be the right one, just ask again, 'do I already have the answer?', and make a different decision.
I hope that helps a bit.